Tourist spending peaks in summer

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 06:56 01/07/2013

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New Government tourist spending figures show the international visitor spend in Marlborough trended above the national average during the past summer.

The Kiwi tourist dollar figures were far less encouraging. They show that January was the only month during the past two years when Marlborough's domestic spend index met or exceeded the national average.

The Regional Tourism Indicators are a new series based on electronic card transaction data, to provide regular updates on tourism spending.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said while the data reflected a strong summer with international tourists, they showed the potential to boost visitor numbers, in autumn and winter.

"Our biggest challenge is the seasonal variations, we need to continue to work on our strategies to broaden our summer season so we're not a one-season wonder. Destination Marlborough is aligning upcoming marketing activity to reflect this," she said.

The tourism promotional group's strategies connected with the regional focus on events, using them to attract more people, and aligned the visitor economy with the council's regional strategy, Mrs Johnston said.

Conferences were also an attractive market because the corporate event season was during autumn and winter.

The new index also showed the spend trends of international and domestic visitors, and identified what sectors they were spending their money in.

For example, the international visitor index for Marlborough (pictured) showed the volume of international visitor spend on cultural and recreational services had doubled since 2008 and 2009.

The domestic visitor spend index showed the volume spent in the food and beverage sector had trended downwards during the summer months in the past two years, while spending on fuel had trended up sharply.

Mrs Johnston said the data showed for the first time that tourism spend benefited the entire region, not just accommodation providers and tour operators.

Spending at supermarkets, petrol stations, retail stores and transport providers also followed the peaks and troughs of the summer and winter season.

The Regional Tourism Indicators were a new series based on electronic card transaction data, to provide regular updates on tourism expenditure.

The index represents change in spend compared to an average month in 2008, and is designed to show trends not levels of spend. For example a value of 110 on the index would be a 10 per cent increase in spend above 2008, for that month, while a value of 90 would be a 10 per cent decrease in spend.

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- The Marlborough Express

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